Photo Courtesy of Rep. Meng’s Office
Rep. Meng recently toured the McAllen Border Patrol Station in Texas.
By Forum Staff
U.S. Rep. Grace Meng (D-Flushing) on Thursday introduced two pieces of legislation that, the congresswoman said, would improve conditions for children who have been separated from their parents at border facilities.
According to Meng, the Better Care for Kids Act would improve training that federal personnel who care for separated children receive by requiring that they use best practices when caring for infants and toddlers. The bill would ensure that personnel are trained to properly care for tender-age children, particularly to minimize trauma they may be experiencing.
And the Child Advocate Program Reauthorization Act would reauthorize the Child Advocate Program, an initiative that appoints independent child advocates for vulnerable alien unaccompanied children and child trafficking victims, Meng noted. The bill would extend the authorization through 2022. This month the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services announced its desire to cover 550 minors through the program in nearly a dozen locations throughout the country, including in New York. The authorization for the program expired in 2017.
Both measures have been referred to the House Judiciary Committee where they are awaiting further action.
“It is appalling that parents who had their kids ripped away from them are still separated from their children, and that the President still has no concrete plan to bring them back together,” said Meng. “But while these children are detained without their parents, it is essential that the government provide them with the best care possible, and that they have advocates who are on their side. My bills would ensure that children are affo
rded these vital protections, and I urge all of my colleagues to support these two measures. It is critical that the best interests of these children be served.”
Meng proposed the laws less than a week after traveling to the border near McAllen and Brownsville, Texas, where she said she saw detained children and spoke with parents who have been separated from their kids.